Alex Hofmann's MotoGP Round Up from Laguna Seca

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Well the weekend started off with some great news as Nicky Hayden signed a new one-year contract with Ducati, which will keep him there for the 2013 season at least.

I've said many times this season that Nicky has been trying so hard every session, day in day out, to get the best out of the package and I think he really deserves this new contract. He has really been giving it his all this year, and it's great to see the rumours about Crutchlow or someone else coming in to replace him have been quashed by this deal.

It's also fantastic they gave him the extension before his home race, and Nicky is a very popular guy in the States which is a huge motorcycle market. Once again he showed he is really fighting and giving it 100% from the first lap to the last, and it shows in results because he is leading Valentino Rossi in the championship points standings.

That brings us on to Valentino's future, and there have been plenty of rumours and speculation about what will happen with him. None of us really know what is going on or how Valentino is genuinely feeling. We should know in the next week or so what 2013 will hold for him, stay tuned.

Looking at the race, I think it was the hardest so far for Nicky and Valentino because the track is so special and specific.

Nicky's start wasn't the best. When he had that elbow check with Álvaro Bautista off the starting grid they both had to go off the throttle and he lost a position right away to Stefan Bradl. If he had a better start he could have maybe found the speed to stay with the second group from the very beginning. As is Nicky's character he just didn't give up and he did a good job, coming in sixth.

Valentino had a really tough race and his pace was not there, he was even struggling to stay with the second group. And then to cap it all he had a very strange crash at the end of the race where he was braking almost upright going into the 'Corkscrew', and he took quite a heavy fall. It just showed there is still a lot of work to do.

At the last race at Mugello it seemed they had seen the light at the end of the tunnel, that's why I always said be careful because that's where the bike was born and developed and that's where it's done a million laps. Laguna Seca is something completely different and is only 3.6km with barely any straight, it's all about rideability and having confidence in your machine. Valentino was just shaking his head after that crash. Under dry conditions, braking up a hill is not a situation in which you should go down.

Next up is Indianapolis and it will be another hard one because of bike set-up. It seems the Desmosedici works well on typical Grand Prix courses, such as Mugello, and I think they'll have a good one in Brno which comes after Indy as it is a wide track with no bumps, clear lines and it has a great flow, so should suit the GP12 better.